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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

But... But... BUT I CAN'T!!! Really? Who Said So?

Hello and welcome back.  

Thank you for joining me here again. In this column I'm sharing and challenging you to consider how does stress and anxiety impact you? 

For some of us it breaks our concentration, for some it makes us grumpy, it can impact our health and for some it interrupts our sleep and for some it does all of that and more in negative ways.

Well, one of the keys I've learned is to live with and make friends with stress and anxiety  So I now have it as my desire to learn and practise the powerful skills that help me with calming, focus and sleep. I've had brain injury - concussion, 2 types of chronic illness, 2 major challenges with cancer (and way more surgery and treatments than I have space to go into here) and so much more. You get the drift.
However the one thing I am amazed at is the medical, mental, educational and social work model that seldom recognize the value and the power of learning skills that have been research proven to help us "rewire" our brains. Rewire them to help use be calmer, more engaged and in the moment.
So my challenge to you is about taking the time to learn and practise these powerful skills  several times a week. They work fast and are more effective the more you practise them. 

What are they?
- Relaxation Response
- Mindfulness
- Meditation
- Breathing

Each of these stills adds value in that it helps calm and centres our mind and in turn our body. The more we practise them, the longer you practise them the more opportunity you develop yourself to be calmer, more focused and gain the ability to have a better quality sleep and often a longer sleep.

So why are these skills vital? Well a good night sleeps changes everything. Plus happiness, calmness, concentration all depend in part on a good nights sleep. 
Here is were you can find free access to two audio stories that if used regularly have helped many children, youth and adults with anger, frustration, brain injury, concussion, ADD, ADHD, ODD, PTSD,  and many other issues gain a greater ability for self regulation and sleep. 
Here is where you can purchase some programming to assist you practise and learn these key skills to develop and deepen your ability to be calmer more often. Some call it self regulation, some call it self control, I don't care what you call it. I wish for you peace inner peace. Life is far easier when you have inner peace and a good night's sleep.


So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.


Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, teams
organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

Hiring and Contacting Michael
To interview Michael, book him for your 
next event or to contact him you can do that at:

You can purchase Michael's programming on:
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 iTunes.com audio programs at:

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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Being Open to Learn

Being Open To Learn
11 Offered to Teach One offered to Transform
Michael H Ballard of Resiliency for Life

My Dad shared a conversation with me I’ve reflected on for many years. It still sits top of mind for me. He first shared it with me when I was just 12 years old. I’d just started my first stand alone business. I’d had a paper route (Grew it from 27 to 58 customers in 20 months) , shovelled snow, been very successful selling door-to-door and done lots of odd jobs. However, I’d never had a stand-alone business where I was in charge of everything.

I had and have an abundance of energy. However, don’t call me hyper. I hate it, does that mean if you’re mellow you’re lethargic? I have this abundance of energy I love to harness to get things done and make things happen! So at 12 my parents figured I best have something positive to focus on and use that energy that summer as school drew to a close.

So they put their heads together included me and asked me what I thought of having my own business.  I loved it.  A little freedom, plus hard work, some income and a chance being the extrovert I am meet some new people. A great way to invest time in that summer.

So a lawn mower and supplies was shopped for, purchased and brought home.  My paper route reputation made it relatively easy to get my first few customers. My little business grew as did my modest bank account. Soon I had to stop taking customers. Eleven lawns, two of them being a 1/3 to ½ acre in size kept me very busy.

Soon enough, that lawn mower needed some maintenance. That’s when my father took me out to teach me a few keys on how to maintain power engines and mowers.  He showed me how to clean the air filter, re oil the filer, he taught me how to gap the spark plug, retighten the wheels, then check all the bolts and nuts for the correct tension. Then, just as I thought we we’re done, the lessons was shared.

It was time to sharpen the lawn mower blade. My father as a Master Machinist was no slouch when it came to working with his hands and with metal. His home tool kit was far from average as was his skill set. At one point he’d been tasked to join a team and work for NASA where he’d had to sign off on the official secrets act of the day. Then he helped build and assemble two satellites over an 18 month period for the then “space   race”.

Dad called me over to his wrench set and asked me to consider what size of nut held the blade on? Then, would given the configuration and placing / spacing of the nut on the blade relative to it’s location in the mower should I use an open face wrench, a close face wrench, or a socket and ratchet set? Any of them as it turned out. There was lots of space to work with. So each of them served the purpose just fine.  However once I took the nut off and before the blade was removed, Dad had then showed me that this was no ordinary nut. Michael:  Note the quality of the design and machining. He had me notice that this was a very specialized nut with a safety feature built in. This nut had a specialized special non metallic insert of what we used to call “space age material” that was fitted into the nut in such a way that when the nut was tightened onto the mower blade shaft it stayed on tight.  I enjoyed hearing my Father extoll how the excellence in design and production of this nut ensured a safer experience for many hours of lawn cutting.

However once the blade was off the mower and cleaned, and the safety glasses went on, then proper angle to sharpen the blade had to be determined. Dad set the guide to rest the blade against the grinder and proceeded to sharpen one side of the blade.
Then he turned off the grinder. Then he handed the blade off to me and said “ So where is your hand placement going to be to a) be safe, b) help guide the blade?” I showed him. Then I was then I was in the midst of experiencing what he’d learned from his coworkers when he as a 16 year old apprentice in the process to be a machinist, a master machinist.

Well as much as that was a great lesson lesson, it’s what he shared with me next as he coached me into putting the blade back on the lawn mower ~ right side up!  Tested the tightness of the bolt (with the specialized insert) and offered his approval. That is when his insightful life long lesson was shared.

He took me back to his first few weeks on the job as a new apprentice. He had 12 machinists in the shop he worked in. Each one over the first weeks took him aside to teach him how to sharpen the tools they worked with. Well, most did, all but one of them did. Dad explained that despite being shown by most of them several times how to sharpen the cutting bits in the shop each time he held his tongue and watched, listened and for the first couple of times learned. However by the 10 and 11th time they all showed him the same process and same outcome. He remained patience and listened. That’s when the very quiet one took him aside. “I want to share with you something – This lot won’t do.” He then showed my Dad.  He then took him over to the grinding wheels and proceed to show him how to sharpen a drill bit in a slightly different manner that both sharpened the cutting edge, helped it stay sharper longer and the cutting bit lasted a little longer.

My Dad’s lesson I wanted share with you:
My Dads lesson that day to share with you is this: You never know who is watching us while we are listening and learning. Their added insights and contribution if we are open to it can be a game changer.

I have been very fortunate in life to have several mentors that have been first rate. One of my best after my Dad, was Trevor Hunt.  He offered wisdom, patience and respect. He was skilled at coaching me in process and the key skills to be my very best during my first few months in business-to-business sales. Who mentors you? Who do you mentor?

So until next time Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life Travel well. Be safe.


To interview Michael, book him for your 
next event or to consult you can contact him at:

You can purchase Michael's audio programming on iTunes at:
Michael’s Social Media includes:


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

How do we deepen our Resilience?


Resilience, Resiliency, Positive, Positivity, Positive Imperative, Michael Ballard
By virtue of the fact you’re reading this tells me you have resiliency. A key question is how do we deepen, and widen our capacity to thrive?
 imagesFalsehoods and Lies – These can wear us down and hurt us, as like the half truths they are not all accurate.
  • Indicating that we’re what? Very Tall? Short?
  • Never mind the 79 - 197 hours your practiced,
Michael H Ballard is a SME – Subject Matter Expert on Resiliency. He consults and trains with individuals and groups, organizations and communities on how to develop and deepen their resiliency.

 Let’s start at the beginning.

A key component of being resilient is our ability to understand, manage and nurture our self-definition. What is self-definition you ask? Good question. 
Self Definition is a compilation of how we’ve knowingly and unknowingly defined ourselves based on many variables. These include our race, colour, creed, gender, physical traits, IQ, EQ, how we where parented, our health  extended family, neighbourhood, workplace, educational levels attained, the media, community and country to name just a few.
Where  should we start?
Let us start with you considering this concept about Self Definition.
If there was a picture of you in the dictionary; not just any dictionary but one that is confidential and only you can see. Your dictionary only! Now, let us take a trip inside this confidential dictionary to see what you’ll discover and uncover.
First realize that there are three key types of items and memories stored here.

The first are the truths about us. However some of the things we think are the truth in time are not always 100% accurate.
half truth, half lie, truth, positive, positivity, positive imperative, Michael Ballard
Half Truths – Half Falsehoods
~ These are beliefs about us that can confuse and misdirect us as we lack clarity because of them. I.e. You’re just like your (Place name here) and will never do well in math. When in fact perhaps you’re not going to be a Engineer, or a Physicist, yet could do very well as a business professional using business math.
What to do about these three categories?
Well, several years back I mentored a young gentleman who’d lived on the street for ten years. After several deep and meaty conversations he shared the phrase “Fearless moral inventory”. Great phrase. I’d suggest a slightly gentler approach. Consider something along the lines of a “Deep and wide honest inventory of how have I defined myself to date? Then, what should be adjusted? Added? Thrown out?
 It is a process so it will not just happen over night. However if we have the courage to understand that we took years to get this way than real change can often happen in hours, days and weeks. If we keep practicing. The road to mastery is one built on excellence not perfection.
Positive, Positive Thinking, Positive Mind, Positive, Positivity, Positive Imperative
No where to be seen between Positive and Negative thoughts, half truths are the neutral way of thinking that is also negative.
So, how do these three key types of files in our private and confidential internal dictionary show up?
Generally people have them there as positive, negative and half-truths.

-          Stupid – Oh don’t be so stupid!
-          Amazing – It is amazing how you do that so well.
I.e. -          You’re just like your …
Under weight? Over weight? Smart? Stupid?
Incredibly good looking?
-          You’re so lucky
the lessons you took and the mentor you had. You lucky? Not a chance. Luck favours the prepared. You prepared. You gained some mastery!
Pictures I.e. Images burnt into our brain of a very upbeat or very negative time.
Use caution of reviewing our failures and mistakes. Over time we run the risk of programming ourselves for more failures and mistakes.
Positive Imperative Positive thinking negative thinking
Mini movies and sound tracks
I.e. They play over and over and over again if we give them permission. They become burnt into our brain of a very upbeat or very negative time. They can influence our mood, our relationships our happiness and our success.
Replaced the negative ones with new ones. Write a new script! Act it out in the privacy of your bedroom or Living room.
 We need to stay vigilant against a society that works on a negative asset basis. We’re consistently feed messages that if we just “wore the right clothes, drove a certain car, lived in a certain area, attended a certain school, we’d be smarter, more successful and more likeable. All not true of course. Yet the cosmetics, fashion industry and many others do quite well with that pitch. Not that a new piece of clothing is not a good thing. Just not a replacement of the homework we all should be doing.
Well with over 80% of what we think and are told framed in the negative it is no wonder we have “issues” around resiliency. Feeling comfortable in our own skin and managing our Self Definition is a very powerful first step. Foundational work some of us would say.
So nothing like the present to start to walk the talk about resiliency.
What area of your Self Definition will you work on today? The time is now to take this on and start to build and rid of what blocks you as you house clean.

So, until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency forLife.


Hiring and Contacting Michael
To interview Michael, book him for your 
next event or to contact him you can do that at:

You can purchase Michael's programming on:
Udemy.com video programs at:

 iTunes.com audio programs at:

Michael’s Social Media includes:

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Lessons from Miss Patton for a Life Time

Lessons That Have Served Me A Lifetime
Dedicated to Miss Doris M. Patton my Grade One Teacher

The intensity of our conversation was and is still a very positive experience as I reflect on it. I can remember talking with my Mom (she was working at the kitchen table doing food prep) about starting to attend public school like it happened yesterday.

Me in business mode

My Mom, Dawn, was very pleased that her first-born was heading off for his first day in Grade One. I too was very excited and pleased. Being the extroverted one that I was and remain, first day represented friends to be made, lessons to learn, teachers to meet, and things to experience.

Little did I know, however, that within the first three weeks of school my Grade One teacher, Miss Doris Patton, would quickly find several key factors about me. Some that have positively defined me and help me with career choices, others that would define a couple of attributes that in her words, “These will challenge Michael and will hinder him. Perhaps be hard on him during his time in school. However, he has skills and gifts both in the classroom and in the playground that will serve him well, once he leaves school.”

At the time, I know did not know how those words would later ring true. Seems yours truly has some interesting combinations of talents and “issues.” I do not like, fact is I have strong disdain for, the common phrase or description of strengths and weaknesses. I am more of a “strengths and challenges” kinda person.

What Miss Patton so quickly identified, dedicated educator and very intuitive professional that she was, was my eye-hand coordination issue. Printing and writing to me was then and today remains a challenge.

“Slow down, practice more, not so fast, try another pen/pencil, try again… .” How many hundreds of times did I hear those instructions during the first 10 years of school. Later in life, in a state of serious frustration, I bought a typewriter with Pica font 10 point and extended carriage! I am so sure that many of my teachers who could now read what I put to paper breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Miss Patton’s skills and the lessons that I learned from her that have served me well over the years are:
Pay attention to those around you. Each has gifts that often exceed ours in several categories or in different ways than we have.
Pay attention to your intuition. Miss Patton figured this out about me in less than 20 days of classroom time. Her experience, her attentiveness and intuition. First rate.
Third lesson and biggest of them all: Stay respectful. One never knows what the other person or persons we are living next door to or working with are facing. I never felt less than with Miss Patton. Her gift to me was to make me feel I could be and do more. What a gift she shared.

This was a very big gift to give a child just starting out in school. Little did she know how much I would need to hang on to her words for Grade Two. But that is a story for another time. Miss Patton offered up to me untold patience, kindness and insights into my future and myself. I’ve always held her up as a first-rate example of what a teacher should be.

I was blessed to spend a day at the track. High speed safety training. Interesting and exciting. A wonderful gift.

So until next time Imagine Yourself having more Resiliency for Life.

To interview Michael, book him for your next event or to have him consult with your group can contact him at:

To interview Michael, book him for your

next event or to consult you can contact him at:



You can purchase Michael's audio programming on iTunes at:







Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Lessons Learned From Mr. L. Smith Science Teacher KCSS

Lessons Learned From Mr. Smith 
Respect Makes a Difference
Michael H Ballard of Resiliency for Life

I have had many significant teachers in my life. Some formally at the head of a classroom and others as next door neighbours, friends, coworkers, managers and some out and out strangers who I spent time with for only a short period of time.

Today though I wanted to honour one who in a very brief moment showed finesse and an emotional intelligence that both respected the student who had made a punishable offence twice, spared his feelings, made the point and showed the class his leadership skills while then at the same time ensure that the class understood the issue at hand.

I was in science class with Mr. Smith as the teacher. He was upbeat, respectful, and he made his topic of science interesting and it stuck.  The student who goofed and created this punishable offence was like the rest of us in Grade 10 just trying to fit in and being teenager’s explore life in all the ways teenagers do.

Expect he had bought porn to school and did not try to hide it. This was not dainty cute lots of airbrushed PG13 no brown paper bag required porn but instead it was very vile. Mr. Smith in catching the student grazing and lusting upon the pictures firmly asked him to bring it up to the front of the room with the magazine “Closed” so as to not offend anyone.

He then proceeded to ask the student why he felt the need to look at such a magazine in a public place. Did he not realize that some would find it offensive?
So Mr. Smith then ask the student to throw it in the wastebasket. The teacher then asked him why he didn’t invest his time in actually talking to a few of the young ladies in the school. Because if you invest your time talking with them instead of objectifying some of them, when the time is right, and you’re the right age amazing things could happen, with the right young lady with you.

Now you have to know that Mr. Smith was (and still is I certain) smart, hard working, approachable, volunteered more than most other teachers,  and his classes where ones we all enjoyed taking. However and it’s a big HOWEVER his wife was as professional and nice as him. She also volunteered at the school and was considered to be one of the best looking spouses that ever graced the halls of the school.

So, Mr. Smiths words rang very true that day in science class. The student in question had a hangdog look on his face and repeated several times, Yes Sir. Understood Sir. Okay Sir. Mr. Smith never raised his voice to make his point.  His words where well crafted, delivered with respect and he dealt with the student with dignity.

Thank you Mr. Smith for a First Class example of how to handle a behaviour issue with dignity and respect.  Plus he made certain both genders in the room knew that we should actually talk to each other. Connect with each other. Not objectify each other. I can remember it like yesterday. What a positive impact great communications makes.

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.


Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

Hiring and Contacting Michael
To interview Michael, book him for your 
next event or to contact him you can do that at:

You can purchase Michael's programming on:
Udemy.com video programs at:

 iTunes.com audio programs at:

Michael’s Social Media includes: